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  1. #1
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    Lays of Beleriand / Unfinished Tales

    Greetings!

    I recently picked up both of these collections, and I have also yet to read the Sil

    Are both of these books subsets or extractions from the Sil or are they general collections from notes and unfinished stories found from the Professor?

    Just curious - I look forward to reading them all, although Lays of Beleriand might be slow going as it appears to be completely written in verse
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    Gonzodor, Gonzorian, Gonzoric, others -- [color=green][b]Founder and Lifer in Middle Earth[/b][/color][/center]

  2. #2

    Re: Lays of Beleriand / Unfinished Tales

    yikes - I doubt the Professor himself could clearly answer that one. It's all of the above and then some. The Silmarillion was never completed by JRRT, it was compiled as best as he could by Christopher Tolkien from the piles of pages his father left behind. There are multiple versions of everything, some things in full, others end abruptly, 50+ years of compulsive writing and rewriting to sort through. The Silmarillion came out first in 1977, four years after the Professor passed away and was an attempt to compile together the various stories of the First Age. Unfinished Tales came out a few years later and was composed primarilly of stories know in the "Sil" written in a more fully narrative style but all uncomplete in some extent. The Lays are part of the History of Middle-earth series. This is a 12 book series that contains all the earliest writtings by Tolkien, draft versions of The Lord of The Rings, essays describing people, places and languages, and more. There's much in these books that are similar but there's also places where the stories, places and names don't match. Some stuff is rather dry reading but then there's stories and parts thereof that would have been brilliant had they been completed as intended. Definitely for the reader who wants to dig into the background mythology.
    [FONT=Trebuchet MS]"You can't fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy" - J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 81


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  3. #3
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    Re: Lays of Beleriand / Unfinished Tales

    Quote Originally Posted by tuor66 View Post
    *snip*
    Definitely for the reader who wants to dig into the background mythology.
    Excellent - this kind of reading is rather intriguing to me, albeit not hours and hours at a time!

    I thought that was what the Silmarillion was all about, but was unsure of the other two.

    Many thanks for the clarification

    /bow
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    Gonzodor, Gonzorian, Gonzoric, others -- [color=green][b]Founder and Lifer in Middle Earth[/b][/color][/center]

  4. #4
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    Re: Lays of Beleriand / Unfinished Tales

    I would suggest reading the Sil first. It gives you an idea of the writing style and gives you info for when you do go onto the other books.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Lays of Beleriand / Unfinished Tales

    Quote Originally Posted by Angelina_Rayne View Post
    I would suggest reading the Sil first. It gives you an idea of the writing style and gives you info for when you do go onto the other books.
    Ah, thank you for the suggestion.. My father had an original hard back copy of the Sil, so I snagged that from him

    I look forward to reading it!
    [center] --> [url="http://cota.guildportal.com"]Champions of the Ages[/url] <-- [/center]
    [center][url="http://my.lotro.com/character/firefoot/gonzard/"][charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0920d00000004acac/01008/signature.png]Gonzard[/charsig][/url]
    Gonzodor, Gonzorian, Gonzoric, others -- [color=green][b]Founder and Lifer in Middle Earth[/b][/color][/center]

  6. Re: Lays of Beleriand / Unfinished Tales

    You'll find multiple versions of the same story and it gets a little redundant after awhile, but its fascinating to see how Tolkien matured his mythos over time. I'd recommend the HoME series to any serious Tolkien fan; but not to the casual reader.
    [charsig=http://lotrosigs.level3.turbine.com/0620500000009263b/01003/signature.png]Arasilion[/charsig]

  7. #7

    Re: Lays of Beleriand / Unfinished Tales

    Fascinating is definitely the right word. Although I think Christopher Tolkien is a little over-protective of the estate I'll give him kudos for sorting through all this material and publishing it. It's rare to get a glimpse of a writers work in progress.
    [FONT=Trebuchet MS]"You can't fight the Enemy with his own Ring without turning into an Enemy" - J.R.R. Tolkien, Letter # 81


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  8. #8
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    Re: Lays of Beleriand / Unfinished Tales

    Quote Originally Posted by DrGonzo403 View Post
    Greetings!

    I recently picked up both of these collections, and I have also yet to read the Sil

    Are both of these books subsets or extractions from the Sil or are they general collections from notes and unfinished stories found from the Professor?

    Just curious - I look forward to reading them all, although Lays of Beleriand might be slow going as it appears to be completely written in verse
    I'd read The Silmarillion first, then Unfinished Tales. As far as the Lays of Beleriand goes, that's one of the History of Middle-earth books I haven't yet read (Because I haven't been able to find it used or at a library. :/ ) but I want to point out that it's #3 in that series. At a guess I'd say you're best off starting with the first in the series, The Book of Lost Tales, Volume I if you're sure you want to get down and dirty with the earliest versions of the mythology and its history. Or, if you're more interested in how it developed later, I'd suggest #4, The Shaping of Middle-earth which gives material around the time The Hobbit was written; or #10, Morgoth's Ring, which starts on the writings post LOTR.

    Or, if you're interested in the writing of LOTR itself, book 6 (Through 9, and also 12.) would be the choice.

    I'm rereading most of the series in order right now and finding it very engrossing. But a lot of people find it quite tedious, as did I, to some degree, the first time around.
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